The Effect of Sentence Accent on Non-Native Speech Perception in Noise

Odette Scharenborg, Elea Kolkman, Sofoklis Kakouros, Brechtje Post

This paper investigates the uptake and use of prosodic information signalling sentence accent during native and non-native speech perception in the presence of background noise. A phoneme monitoring experiment was carried out in which English, Dutch, and Finnish listeners were presented with target phonemes in semantically unpredictable yet meaningful English sentences. Sentences were presented in different levels of speech-shaped noise and, crucially, in two prosodic contexts in which the target-bearing word was either deaccented or accented. Results showed that overall performance was high for both the native and the non-native listeners; however, where native listeners seemed able to partially overcome the problems at the acoustic level in degraded listening conditions by using prosodic information signalling upcoming sentence accent, non-native listeners could not do so to the same extent. These results support the hypothesis that the performance difference between native and non-native listeners in the presence of background noise is, at least partially, caused by a reduced exploitation of contextual information during speech processing by non-native listeners.

DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2016-19

Cite as

Scharenborg, O., Kolkman, E., Kakouros, S., Post, B. (2016) The Effect of Sentence Accent on Non-Native Speech Perception in Noise. Proc. Interspeech 2016, 863-867.

author={Odette Scharenborg and Elea Kolkman and Sofoklis Kakouros and Brechtje Post},
title={The Effect of Sentence Accent on Non-Native Speech Perception in Noise},
booktitle={Interspeech 2016},